New York's Illustrious Past Remembered In 'The Persian Room Presents', Highlight Hollywood Exclusive News

The lyrics If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere, of course, referenced New York City as a whole. However, for years, the glowing example of that particular sentiment could have been referring to The Persian Room at the Plaza Hotel itself as the definitive venue for a performers career. As the ultimate cabaret experience, it featured headliners including Liza Minnelli, Dolores Hope, Eartha Kit, Carol Channing, Diahann Carroll, Andy Williams, Lainie Kazan, Patti Page, and the Chairman of the Board/Ole Blue Eyes – Frank Sinatra, not to mention literary icons such as Eloise (courtesy of Hilary Knight). Last week, representatives of Persian Room’s history from the 1940’s to the 1970’s gathered to remember, admire and respect its legacy including Marge Champion, Tommy Tune, Barbara Van Orden, Carol Lawrence, Leslie Uggams, Eve Plumb and more to celebrate the launch of Patty Farmer’s new book, “The Persian Room Presents,” released by Vantage Press. The Persian Room was fabled!” says nine-time TONY winner, Tommy Tune. I couldn’t afford it at the time, but would be in awe of it as I passed by watching people who had just attended a Broadway Show, arrive for a show in all their splendor. Your career could be significantly altered, even as an opening act, says Barbara Van Orden (who opened for Frank Sinatra) who remarked, I was successfully working in Vegas, when Frank asked me to open for him at The Persian Room. After that, the doors flew open, adding I am thrilled to be in Patty’s new book.

Tony Butala (Founder and original member of The Letterman) said, When Patty asked me to be part of the book, I was overjoyed. We played there a few times in the 60’s and I really miss the elegance the room offered both the artists and patrons. Leslie Uggams recalled, My very first nightclub engagement was The Persian Room. What great memories I have and loved sharing with Patty for the book. Carol Lawrence remembered, I was booked at The Persian Room right after Westside Story. They put me on a ladder that whirled as I was dancing. There were always celebrities in the audience, but one night Cary Grant was among them and I still think that is one of the reason’s the Persian Room was my favorite nightclub. One of the earliest Persian Room alumni in attendance, Ms. Marge Champion, who told guests We (with husband, Gower Champion) were the second act on the bill, but it didn’t matter.

If you were appearing at The Persian Room, you were considered a headliner. Like everyone else here tonight, we never thought anyone would write a book, but are grateful to Patty for doing so.” Ms. Farmer, who maintains a residence at The Plaza, told of how Celeste Holm would practically run after the curtain came down on Oklahoma! in order to make her 11:30pm show at the Persian room. “

It was that important to artists, says Farmer. It was a packed room that gathered the following night at Barnes & Noble (82nd and Broadway) as Barbara Van Orden, Tony Butala, Marge Champion and Julie Wilson joined author, Patty Farmer, for an evening of Q&A and signing that began at 7:00pm and lasted well into the evening before patrons had exhausted their questions and gotten their books (in some cases, multiple purchases), signed by the evening’s special guests. The Persian Room Presents, which has a jacket illustration by Sujean Rim and features famed Persian Room performer Jack Jones serenading the author, Patty Farmer, is available nationwide this weekend with book signings scheduled for San Diego, Palm Springs and Los Angeles.

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: John Aquino Photography
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